tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC October 6, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT
i'm stephanie ruhle. ali velshi is on assignment. please join me next week for more v"velshi & ruhle." fuming mad. the president reportedly ste steaming by the secretary of state calling him a moron. while he denies president trump, it is touching adversaries alike. even as the president announced he's going to have a tough new policy against iran. >> the regime supports terrorism and violence and bloodshed across the middle east. that is why we must put an end to iran's continued aggression and nuclear ambitions. they have not lived up to the spirit of their agreement.
unclear motive. tracing the las vegas killer's steps, trying to figure out what caused him to become a mass murderer. as some top republicans and even the nra consider a step to ban those devices that can turn semiautomatic weapons into machine guns. >> it takes a semiautomatic firearm and it makes it perform like a fully automatic firearm. it makes it function like one. and what the nra has said is, we ought to take a look at that, see if it's in compliance with federal law and it's worthy of additional regulation. storm warning. president trump's cryptic comment at his dinner for military leaders and their spouses causing even his own aides to wonder, just what did he mean? >>. [ inaudible ]
>> and we have breaking news on the obamacare mandate that provides free birth control to millions of women. that coming up. good day, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. busy friday. reporting about the critical comments that rex tillerson made about president trump has spent them into a tailspin. the president is furious with his secretary of state. the vice president also fuming, putting tillerson's long-term future at foggy bottom in serious doubt. joining me now, peter alexander and political analyst john thrush. peter, i want to go into all that, but i first want to ask about this new decision coming out of the administration about birth control for women, because it potentially affects millions of women getting birth control
through obamacare. >> andrea, that's exactly right. this has been released just an hour ago. it's now part of the federal register. to be clear on what this would do, it would roll back the requirement that was part of obamacare. it's one of the kia chooey achis by president obama, that would require employers to provide birth control as part of their health plan. this would expand on both religious and moral grounds. this is significant. the administration says this is to try to help americans get out from, as they describe it, under the thumb of the federal government as the president promised in an announcement back in may. he said, you don't want americans to have to choose between their faith and the federal government. the administration said this will not affect 99.9% of american women. but the fact of the matter is, andrea, it really does open up a new door here where it's not
just small organizations like little sisters of the poor who had filed suit against obamacare but bigger organizations. catholic hospitals and other institutions of that kind could say they want an exemption. planned parenthooparenthood, th gynecologists expressing their frustration, saying they're extremely disappointed by this announcement from the legislation, andrea. >> i want to pick that up with glen thrush. what are the chances that rex tillerson still might step down despite the fact he kind of fell on the sword the other day, the white house still angry at him. now the report by michael allen that they're even looking at the possibility of cia director mike
pompeo replacing him. they went to the state department to try to resolve issues of a vacancy. glenn? >> we've seen rex tillerson more in the last two days than we've seen him in the last nine months, right? that's been in the wind for a bit, but we're still hearing nikki haley would be more likely, and that pompeo, if anything, would be more likely to be slotted into nfc if general mcmaster got his four-star and was shipped off to somewhere else. remember, rex tillerson is not the only member of the president's inner circle who is not in the greatest position. general mcmasters not somebody the president is crazy about being around. i think with tillerson, we're looking at a situation that's not all that dissimilar to where
jeff sessions is right now, in this kind of doghouse limbo where the president, i think, would clearly like to have both those folks out of the way, but there are all kinds of political and procedural reasons why that would be a big mistake. that said, tillerson is very much on thin ice, and i would be surprised if he lasted probably more than a year. >> if that long. in fact, one of the issues that i understand that's obviously a friend of mine for john kelly and for general mattis, peter. the president's big trip to china, north korea and iran next week. most of the foreign policy against the decision to decertify, which i've been told is going to happen, but they've sort of watered it down a little bit by kicking it over to congress. we'll talk more about that in a moment. what about the fact the president said last night this is the calm before the storm? he had just spoken about north korea, iran and isis in a photo op about a half hour earlier. what is he talking about?
what calm, what storm? >> reporter: well, there's been plenty of storms around here, but i don't think those are the ones he's referring to. it's not quite clear what he's talking about when he looked at the group surrounding him, military leaders and families, when he said, this is the calm before the storm. we reached out to the white house privately. much of the administration we spoke to wasn't exactly sure what the president was referring to as well. that's sort of the cliffhanger as we wait for sarah huckabee sanders at the briefing at 2:30 today to see if she can better answer this. questions will be thrown to the president, i'm sure, on this topic as well. one thing to look at is the president who has been trying to deflect on the challenges he's facing with rex tillerson makes a headline like this one of those suspenseful statements and gets everybody to talk about it. it's not entirely clear what he was referring to, whether it's north korea, iran, and specifically on the topic of tillerson, with north korea, the way this all intersects, with
the president's trip to that region just weeks away. it was when tillerson was coming back, as you know, the president really undercut the secretary of state saying, in effect, stop wasting your time. >> indeed. thank you for this breaking news, glenn thrush and peter alexander. he's the author of "a world in disarray." so well named, so impressioned. your book holds up day by day, richard haas. >> alas. >> let's talk about the iran deal, first of all. what i've been told today and it's now being reported elsewhere as well, if this holds, and the president can change his mind, he's not going to certify that iran is complying with the spirit of the deal. the cia, i understand, does say iran is complying with the letter of the iran deal and he'll kick it to congress to see whether they can impose new
sanctions, which is unlikely, and also whether they can renegotiate to extend the deal, to eliminate the end dates and put more muscle in it, all of which is opposed by the other parties to the deal, russia, china and even the european allies. is that what you're hearing and maybe fill in the gaps. >> pretty much. the president has been uncomfortable with the fact that every 90 days under the legislation, not under the deal itself, he has to certify iranian compliance. the problem for him is that he's choosing the one area of iranian behavior where the iranians are actually behaving. i understand why people have real problems with the deal, so do i, but it is the agreement the united states subscribed to, and it's an area that iran is essentially complying with. so we're choosing the one area of iranian behavior that's basically consistent with the obligations, and instead we should be focusing on everything else iran is doing in iraq, in
syria, in lebanon, in yemen, so on and so forth. the administration is in some ways -- i understand their discomfort, but they're going to make a difficult situation worse if they go ahead with this. >> what are the allies likely to say? >> they're going to say, you're on your own, buddy. and if congress does introduce new sanctions, they're not going to support them. and if those new sanctions ultimately go after the allies for doing business in iran, we will transform this into a tranceatlantic krcrisis or a u.s.-russia crisis, iran will get off easy and it will be the united states that pays the price. >> i get that iran is doing all sorts of things propping up iraq and syria, but the president was silent about the other big player in the room, russia. how can he blame iran for all of this bad behavior in syria and not even mention what russia is
doing? >> fair enough. they have been partners there and the syrian regime would not exist right now were it not for the two of them. i do think that one day russia's role will wind down. iran's won't. it's an imperial country, it seeks to recast big parts of the region in its image, and this is the iran of the revolutionary guard and so forth. this is a really capable country that has become a middle eastern power to be reckoned with. again, though, what we're choosing in this whole decertification thing, the focus is off. we're going to make ourselves the issue. by the way, andrea, this goes way beyond iran. this is implications for north korea, this is implications for u.s. credibility across the board. if we're going to start revisiting agreements simply because we've decided we no longer like them, why would other countries then enter into agreements with the united states? a great power has to be consistent and reliable, and mr. trump's whole preference for disruption, i would argue, is inconsistent with the united
states being an effective, great power. >> richard haass, thank you so much from the council on foreign relations. to further drill down on all of this, joining me now is democratic senator jack reed, the top democrat on the armed services committee. thank you for being with us today. i understand a number of senators have been briefed by h.r. mcmaster on what is going down here if the president agrees with the plan that has been given to him and that has been worked out by mcmaster, mattis and the others. at this stage, from what you know, how will this be received in congress? >> i think it will be received with mixed emotions. i think there are some of my colleagues that agree with the president, but i think a significant number recognize that this is more of a political maneuver than a strategic decision. i think the points that richard haass made are excellent.
this undermines our credibility, creates potentially a conflict with our allies. it also could have ramifications with the russians and the chinese, and then it also misses the point of our greatest crisis of the moment, the north korean crisis. we are supposedly pursuing diplomacy, but if they're looking and seeing us abandon an agreement we just entered into a few years ago, what's the incentive for diplomacy? i think that logic, i hope, is persuasive in the congress. >> one of the arguments that some of our european allies are making is that once it gets to congress, you could get into a bidding war with everybody trying to pile on and prove how tough they are against iran, which is not that popular in congress on both parties. >> i think that's correct, but i think, again, there are people who are on both sides, i hope, that are thinking very carefully
about the long-run implications of putting the president off again. i think the president is thinking this is a free ride, he can do this, he can act tough with his agenda moving forward and congress will essentially ride to the rescue. i hope that's the case, frankly, because i think abandoning the agreement would be a mistake, but it's going to introduce, again, uncertainty, and it's also going to create an issue of when do we do this? he's got multiple objectives. tax reform, we have to get our budget done, et cetera, and we have 60 days under legislation to make a decision. it's a privileged motion that has to be called by the minority majority leader. i don't know what they'll do. my sense is they don't want to touch this but it might be thrust upon them. >> there is at least one report on reuters, we're checking into it, that iran is open to talks
on the ballistic missile program, which was not part of the nuclear deal. would that be helpful if iran were willing to negotiate? >> i think it would be very helpful, and the point that was made by richard, this is the one area where we have them complying. we have cut off a significant existential threat in effect if they had nuclear weapons, and this would be a much more complicated world if we were looking at them racing to nuclear weapons as well as the north koreans simultaneously. i think, though, the president and we're all sort of focused on their disruptive behavior including missiles, including surrogates in many different countries. that we should concentrate on. >> let me ask you about rex tillerson because uyou have thi major decision on iran, you have north korea, you have what some would argue is a self-inflicted dispute that they're right in the middle of it with mixed
signals in all directions, a continued war in afghanistan and your chairman john mccain telling administration witnesses the other day that they still have not come up with the details of this new plan on afghanistan. what do you do if the secretary of state is either fired or quits? >> regardless of his tenure, i think the president created a dysfunctional situation. the capacity of the state department has been reduced. their budgets have been threatened. many positions haven't been filled. we do not have an ambassador in south korea, which is right at the point of our most significant immediate challenge. nuclear weapons in north korea, we don't have a confirmed secretary. this is really dereliction in terms of what the president should do to build up and have a coherent relationship with the secretary of state. you can't have a coherent relationship with the secretary of state while he is overseas delivering a message that you
didn't approve. i don't think rex tillerson shoots from the hip in terms of saying things. this is just an example of the impulsive and disfuysfunctionad. it injects more uncertainty and miscalculation. many of the crises we've witnessed in the past, and particularly when we're dealing with weapons of mass destruction, miscommunication, error, misperception are critical factors and we have to have a better, more organized state department and joint effort. >> right now we just saw a picture. speaking of the state department, we don't usually see a lot of these ceremonies. he's speaking to swear in some foreign service officers so they're trying to convey we didn't just see him when he was making that apology the other day. he is now at work. but the fact is, with him being so undercut by the president,
should he resign? would the president be better served by mike pompeo or another replacement? >> i think this is one of those factors where people in the white house are considering, and i'm sure secretary tillerson is considering, what's in the best interest of the country. the disruption, the secretary of health and human services was just dismissed a week ago. there's been a long, long record of people being fired. if the turmoil is so great, that sends another image of dysfunction dysfunctionalty. i think that's what they're weighing. i don't see secretary tillerson staying through the entire term. i don't think he has that relationship with the president, obviously, but the question of when he goes is what they're trying to weigh at the moment. >> thank you for being with us. coming up, we'll have the latest on the las vegas shooting investigation. what the fbi is learning about
the killer as mourners continue paying tribute to the victims. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. >> if charles were standing here right now, i guarantee he would look at us all right now and tell us not to be sad, to celebrate him, because all he wants to do is see smiles on all the faces he touched. he doesn't want to see us crying, he doesn't want to see us hurt. with my advisor's help along the way, it's finally my turn to be the host. when you have the right financial advisor, life can be brilliant. ameriprise trust #1 doctor recommended dulcolax. use dulcolax tablets for gentle dependable relief. suppositories for relief in minutes. and dulcoease for comfortable relief of hard stools.
turning now to las vegas, dramatic new video capturing the heart-pounding scene, concert goers running for their lives as the gunman shoots from his perch up above. now more on the shooter and the investigative trail that investigators are hoping will lead to the motive of the largest u.s. mass murder in history. bring us up to date, pete. what leads, if any, does the fbi have? >> reporter: lots of leads, andrea, lots of directions they're going. they want to know if he was with anyone else, they want to know if anyone else was in the room. they say they don't have established that someone else was in the room, but they want to look at the time people used keys to get into his room, whether this was -- could be housekeeping staff, whether it was room service, so they have a lot of things still based just
on the room itself. what was in the room, could anyone else have brought it in. they still want to make sure that he was the only person involved with this. not to say that anyone else was involved, but there are a lot of little things that have to be cleared up as often happens in investigations like this. so that's one big question. just the room itself, his movements, was anyone else involved? there have been these accounts that we've heard of before that he was seen with a woman before the shooting, what was that all about, so that's all part of that. the second thing is looking at the firearms themselves, whether anybody else may have been involved in buying them, what kind of ammunition did he want, where did he get it, all those sorts of things. then the question about his past, about whether there was some event in his past or did he have some problem that could have contributed to this? they're looking at his health, his physical health, his mental health.
but andrea, all of this is certainly true in terms of the investigative work they're doing, but they keep telling us the same thing. so far no answers, so far no possible answers. they are determined to try to figure out why if they can, but they don't have even a glimmer of that answer yet. >> pete, there was some reporting from you last night and this morning about a family park, that he had staked out other mass events in chicago, the locllapalooza. is there any evidence that he actually went to any other possible killings? >> he looked at concert venues, fenway park in boston. but we've asked if there were any other cities -- this is all internet searching, all work on
the computer, never actually going there, never actually scoping them out or staking them or scouting them. this was all electronic, and we asked if there were other cities involved and we're told no. >> pete williams on the case. thanks so much. >> you bet. coming up, finding the truth. president trump has made a habit of railing against, quote, fake news in the mainstream media. veteran cbs newsman and author of a new book. helping me sort through the issues. nashville hot shrimp. plus our classics like garlic shrimp scampi. try as much as you want however you want 'em, but don't wait, it ends soon. (avo) but you also have a higher risk of heart attack or stroke. non-insulin victoza® lowers a1c, and now reduces cardiovascular risk.
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president trump is escalating his complaints about so-called fake news, even tweeting, why isn't the senate intel committee looking into the fake news networks in our country to see why so much of our news is just made up? fake. this week the president went on a twitter tirade, in fact, against us at nbc news on our reporting about the fake news of rex tillerson. how can the president be the enemy of the people as he has and how can he tweet the sheer
amount he does on line. here to give us insight into the changing skcape of the media. author of the new book, "overload." bob scheiffer, good to see you. >> good to see you. >> we were working with the senate and there were three networks. now it's broadcasting cable. >> 24 hours a day, seven days a week from all this information that's pouring in, more information than any people have had access to in the history of the world, but are we wiser or just overwhelmed? sad to say, we're just overwhelmed. we're still working our way
through this and sorting out what is true and what is false and who do you believe. >> if i feel overloaded every day, every night, and i have to. i'm paid to follow all this and i can't keep up. what is the average person -- how do you sort through what is real, what isn't, especially with the president, frankly, demonizing the mainstream media. >> first, about the president, i feel like i've seen and heard this movie before. yesterday i ran across a tape where richard nixon -- this is true -- sat down henry kissinger and alexander hague and said the founders are the enemy, the professor is the enemy, the press is the enemy. we need to check with secretary kissinger to find out if he ever carried that out, but battering nabobs of negativity. i remember when we were all called that, so not really very much new on that front, but it is very, very dangerous, i think, andrea, because when
people try to undermine the press, this is one of the foundations of democracy. a democracy depends on having access to independently gathered information that they can compare to the government's version of events. that's what sets us off from a totalitarian society. if you don't have that, you can't have our kind of democracy, and that's our assignment. that's what the founders told us we needed to be doing. i think we have to do that. >> especially in this environment where we are in the middle of an investigation. you covered water gagate. >> sure. >> we are in an investigation where it does seem there is an inoculation attempt by the white house to say fake news, it's not true. so when a report comes out, the senate or house intelligence reports, it will not be believed because we're communicating it. i mean, you were in the middle of that awful lewinsky investigation, reading the ken
starr report -- i'll never forget -- reading the ken starr report cold. >> i had to stop everything with dan rather and said, let me read this to make sure i don't say anything i can't read on television. it was still my most embarrassing moment. >> there is a difference now also, because globally russia -- others as well, but russia is such an active player. we've got mueller investigating their influence on other -- well, on our election, but we know also what they did in france most recently. in social media, it's very difficult for the average person in realtime to figure out what is real. >> exactly. not to blow our own horns here, but our organizations, the mainstream media, we check things out before we print or broadcast it. that's just the way we do it. these things that show up on social media, they're sometimes made up out of whole cloth and
sometimes made up out of whole cloth on purpose. there is no question that the russians are doing it, they're buying ads on facebook and social media. there is no question they're disguising these places where they say the news comes from for the sole reason of disrupting and raising questions about our credibility. because they know that that's one of the main things that a democracy has going for it, and you have to make sure people understand, and we all have to understand as consumers where this stuff is coming from. there are perfectly legitimate, and there are a lot of legitimate sites on the web now where you can get news. but some of them are not. >> buyer beware. it's for consumer protection. i can't think of anyone better, as i say, to take us through it than "overload" by bob schieffer. your fifth book. >> yep.
>> congratulations. it's great to see you. coming up, bracing for impact. gulf coast residents bracing for possibly a category 1 hurricane this weekend. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. ♪ psoriatic arthritis tries to get in my way? watch me. ♪ i've tried lots of things for my joint pain. now? watch me. ♪ think i'd give up showing these guys how it's done? please.
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tropical storm nate already blamed for at least 20 deaths in central america. it could become a category 1 hurricane as it barrels toward louisiana and the florida p panhand panhandle. bill hkarins has its path. >> andrea, so many of them have turned into a beast of a storm so quickly. this one is struggling to develop what we call an inner core. if it gets an inner core, it could get a little stronger. as long as it remains in this unorganized state, it will remain a weaker type storm. can it still get to a category 1 storm? yes. but then we can eliminate that it will become a huge million-dollar disaster. you can see it's just a mess of a storm right now. near cancun it stays over water
somewhere nearby loc biloxi or . from the mobile area to pensacola to panama city, this area at fort walton beach most at risk to get that storm surge that could do minor, maybe moderate damage at worst, i guess, and high tide is also right after midnight, so the combination of those two could cause issues. then we take the storm as it rapidly moves northeast bringing beneficial rains to the region. as far as the watches and warnings go, not many changes yet with this. we're still expecting wind damage a little bit and possibly roof damage. storm surge again, minor to moderate would be my concern. somewhere in that area could get about four inches of rain. 1 to 3 inches in most areas. andrea, so far so good with this storm. it's going to be impactful but won't be devastating as with
past storms. >> it's already had an economic impact, by the way. the labor department issued its jobs report and it's down 33,000 jobs, hurricane related in the past month. they thought they would be at job growth 90,000 net new jobs, so 33,000 down indicates how strong that impact was in the gulf, florida and the south as flooding hit. coming up. nervous rex. is the president ready to replace rex tillerson after our nbc exclusive reporting that the secretary of state called the commander in chief a moron. the inside scoop coming up next. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc.
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joining me for the inside scoop, editor of the daily beast and also an msnbc contributor and political contributor carol lee. so much to talk about. carol, first to you. the special counsel and the dossier. he's actually been interfering christopher steele. what do we know about this, because now we're hearing there are talks between christopher steele, the former mi-6 agent
who worked on that controversial dossier to actually talk to the senate intelligence committee as well. >> that's right, and this is significant. as we all know, the dossier by the president was dismissed as nothing. it's come out of news cycles and now it's involved in this investigation. and a lot of us, when we think about the dossier, most people think about the more selacious details that were in there, but there were a lot of very significant things, and if they were to turn out to be true, including meetings that perhaps the trump campaign officials had with russians, and so, you know, the fact that mueller is looking at this and that the senate intelligence committee is looking at this makes it even more significant than we maybe initially thought. >> and sam, right now we're waiting, of course, for the president to come in. there is an event at the white house which is an hispanic heritage month celebration. he'll be speaking.
while we wait for the president, sam, his time, our time, his tweets, the newspaper war that's going on. >> as we careen from crisis to crisis, this is the one stable crisis that keeps going on. >> maybe this is the storm. >> i kind of doubt that's what he was referring to. the dossier is important because if critics edi critics have bee because you can't establish the fact of the dossier. if it turns out the senate intelligence committee is looking to have its own meeting with christopher steele, it adds an element of legitimacy, perhaps seriousness to this dossier that it did not have quite yet, and it makes it much harder for people like the trump administration and people on the hill to criticize it.
>> carol, there is also reporting that the fbi was talking to christopher steele, the author of this dossier, back in july of 2016, and that that's why the intelligence community took it seriously enough to actually brief the president on it. the fbi director, james comey, which many people who i have spoken to believe that's what really poisoned the relationship between comey and the president. >> we know that the president was very -- that really got to him. he really was not happy about that briefing that he had, and then, you know, if you pivot off of that and then you take the next couple of months, it was just this investigation started to heat up and heat up and heat up, and we know that if there is anything that really angers the president and that he stews about, it's this russia investigation. >> sam, the fact that you had the director of national intelligence, james clapper, the cia director john brennan giving their intelligence briefing to
the president-elect at trump tower, and then by agreement because it was the product of fbi work, james comey as the fbi director. he was the only one of the three that would have to work with the president after january 20th. he's the one who took him aside and said, by the way, mr. trump, you need to know this because it's out there. it's very clear from all of our reporting and from what people have said who are close to him that he felt this was an attempt to intimidate or even, quote, blackmail him, politically blackmail him by the fbi director. >> i thought about that conversation and how awkward it must have been for james comey to have to deliver the news about the dossier, and certainly there does seem to be a little bit of shooting the messenger here by trump where he felt intimidated, he felt comey couldn't be trusted. perhaps he was a bit paranoid about it, but perhaps he leg
legitimately felt like this was an intrusion by james comey. in many ways, if not all ways, trump has made matters much worse for himself because of it. >> switching gears, all of our team's how angry the president was, but it's related because of fury and getting angry and firing people. or threatening to fire people. the fact is that he's really angry at rex tillerson. there is no trust there. but apparently has been persuaded by mattis and kelly that this would be disruptive right now, especially with a big asia trip coming up. >> you had great reporting on this. there's no -- that relationship its hard to see that being repaired. the president is very upset with him, particularly when he came out and gave his press conference, when he was asked directly about whether or not he called the president a moron, he didn't deny it. >> and we reported that there
were people inside the white house who were hoping that rex tillerson at that press conference would come out and offer his resignation. that's how much and how pervasive the distrust is inside 1600 pennsylvania. i'm struck bit other side, rex tillerson, corporate titan, comes in as secretary of state, and he has to be so submissive in a way to the president. i'm curious to see what happens with the iran certification. you have all the major players on trump's foreign policy team begging him to not dessert fi the deal. it looks like it will. will that prompt people like tillerson to say, that's not enough. >> if he leaves it won't be because of that. he's been in briefings we've both attended. he already said there's a justification to dessert fi because of the spirit and violation and that's what the president will say in his speech next week. just saying. >> a little news in preview right there. >> thank you so much. >> the scoop.
>> thanks, andrea. >> now, back to a much more serious situation, las vegas. investigators say the gunman was scouting other locations, as pete williams reported, to carry out attacks in boston and chicago. joining me, bill bratton, msnbc senior law enforcement, counterterrorism. commissioner, thank you for being with us. >> nice to be with you. >> the l.a. police -- the las vegas police, i should say, worked so well in this situation. but how do you prevent this kind of thing from happening? a shooter, mass murderer from a high perch against an open-air crowd of 22,000 people? >> i think sheriff lombardo during one of his press conferences said it best, who would have ever thought about something like this happening? in law enforce. private security are constantly trying to anticipate what might happen, but this one was outside
that focus. it will not be outside the focus of law enforcement or private security going forward. it's a new element in the concerns that we have in this country relative to security. particularly at major events and venue, which are happening in american cities all the time every day. >> if you could stand by for a second, commissioner. i apologize, the president has just come to the podium. let's see twhae has to say and we'll come right back. >> the white house and all across our administration. thank you very much. [ cheers and applause ] it's a great privilege for the first lady, melania, and i to be with you all today. thank you all very much. we want to welcome our ambassadors, members of congress, local officials and hispanic community and faith leaders and guests from across the white house. you are really special people. you've worked so hard with us.
today's performers, julius, how was she? was she good? huh? i heard she was fantastic. and yes movement orchestra and the work that they've done and the incredible job they've done, thank you very much. we're honored to have you all here to celebrate hispanic heritage month. please, first lady. please, come up. and, by the way, we just got back from puerto rico together. and it was -- it was really quite a sight. we're doing a great job there. they are great, great people. they are great people. they've been through a lot. >> so are you. >> thank you. [ cheers and applause ]
as we gather for this celebration, our hearts remain heavy and sad for the victims of the horrible mass murder in las vegas. on wednesday in novembef nevadad with brave survivors still recovering in the hospital and with heroic police officers, first responders and everyday americans who acted with speed and courage to save countless lives. no evil on this earth is more powerful than the love and courage of the american people. all of america is praying for the wounded and the grieving. and we will be with them today and we will be with them forever. [ applause ] and i spent a lot of time going through the hospital with melania and seeing some incredible people who were so
seriously wounded. we will never leave their side. we are also praying for the people of puerto rico. we love puerto rico. >> we love you. >> and we also love puerto rico. and we're marshalling every federal resource at our disposal. earlier this week i traveled to puerto rico to oversee federal response to the two deaf stating hurricanes. remember, it was two. it was one and then another. that second one was brutal. and they struck that great and beautiful island. and we now have more than 15,000 federal personnel on the island. 15,000. we will not rest until that job is done. puerto rico has a long road of recovery ahead. very long road.
but we know that its people are proud and they are resilient and they will come back strong. and i've -- i've spent a lot of time with governor rosillo, who is a terrific man, terrific man on tuesday. we will be there all the time to help puerto rico recover, restore, rebuild. we're working very closely with your great governor and your congresswoman who is terrific, jessica. terrific. we stand with them and with all of those who have suffered through natural disasters over these past several weeks, including those in texas and florida and louisiana got hit and got hit very hard. and the state of alabama was incredible. they helped so many people coming up from florida. and georgia likewise. so many incredible people.
and also we have to remember this. the virgin islands, the u.s. virgin islands. governor mapp, who's become a friend of mine i spoke to him so much on the phone, they were hit so hard. and not much was left, but they're rebuilding and the spirit is incredible. u.s. virgin islands. we're also keeping in our hearts and prayers those affected by the disastrous earthquake in mexico. in recent weeks through extremely difficult times, we've seen americans coming together from all races and all backgrounds to unite as one people under god. i will tell you, we sent crews to mexico. and the president was very gracious, called me yesterday and thanked me. we have some really talented people. they went there to help to solve
that unbelievable difficult problem that they have. that earthquake was devastating. and i appreciate the president of mexico and they were so kind in their response but that was a tragic event. our people did a fantastic job. i want to thank all of our first responders. thank you. thank you. [ applause ] and you have a wonderful president in mexico. i can tell you that. when america is unified, there is no challenge we cannot overcome. when we empower the hopes of our people, especially these young, fantastic people right in front of me, who performed so brilliantly, when we embrace the dignity and the beauty of human life, and then he just look out, there is no task too large and
no dream beyond your reach. no dream. there's no dream beyond your reach. you know that, right? talking to some very young people up front that you can't see. [ applause ] no matter who we are or where we come from, we are all americans and we are all bound together by our love for this country and for its flag and for each other. great love. thank you. [ cheers and applause ] thank you. thank you very much. in that same spirit of unity, togetherness and love, we are truly thrilled to have all of you right here at the white house. the white house. what a special place, right? you've read about the white house. you've heard. who was at the white house before? you have some of the congressmen that were. right, right. not too many. it's a very special place.